The family of Padam Gurung, a former Student Representative Council (SRC) member at Sikkim Government College, Kamrang, has voiced their frustration and disappointment following the conclusion of a judicial inquiry into his demise. The inquiry, led by Mr. Justice Narendra Kumar Jain, the Former Chief Justice of the High Court of Sikkim submitted its findings, classifying Gurung's death as accidental.
The State Government had established the committee to investigate the unnatural death of Padam Gurung.
The release of the committee's report has resulted in significant repercussions within the law enforcement sector. Investigating officer Sidharth Subba has been suspended, while Dawa Lhamu Tamang, the Station House Officer (SHO), received a similar suspension, with a show-cause notice being issued to Superintendent of Police (SP) Manish Kumar Verma. Allegations of supervisory failures in handling the case have led to these punitive actions.
Former Chief Minister Pawan Chamling expressed his disappointment with the findings and urged the people of Sikkim to continue seeking justice for Padam Gurung. He stated, "At long last, the Jain Committee submitted its report on the mysterious death of Padam Gurung. The report says that the death was accidental. The patient waiting with his family has ended now. Unfortunately, this was not what the bereaved family had been waiting for during this agonizingly long investigation."
Chamling went on to state that circumstantial evidence, audio recordings, videos from eyewitnesses, and basic logic all cast doubt on the notion that Padam Gurung could have died in a 1.5 feet drain. He questioned the timing of the suspension of the two police officers, wondering why such actions were not taken during the initial investigation when the alleged lapses occurred.
He also raised concerns about the reported coercion of witnesses, stating, "What about the several press conferences by the victim’s family members and acquaintances alleging that the police tried to coerce them to change their statement? If it were indeed an accidental death, what was the need for coercion?"
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